Size of the armies
Weather and light on the day of the battle
Still to do
The Final Report
The Fulford Tapestry
Experts have their say
Some basis for calculating the size of the armies
- Carrying capacity of longships.
According to Frank McLynn in his book 1066, there are 4 types of longship
In the calculations, the assumed ratio of these sizes is 2:2:5:1 or an average
of 40 warriors (40.4) per longship
||The most common
- "The longship of the 11th century was an open craft,
averaging about 80 feet in length and 17 in beam, with some 15 oars on
each side. A complement of 60 to 70 men was customary on warlike
operations. But even if we assume Harald’s 200 longships to have
provided no more than 50 fighting men apiece, the total would still have
amounted to 10,000. Some modern historians have estimated that the
Norman army at Hastings did not amount to more than 7,000 men. If that
was so, then the Norwegian invasion of Yorkshire may well have been
considerably more the dangerous." (Third
battle of 1066)
- In the 10th Century, In Norway each area was responsible for raising a set
number of ships and their crews which would produce a total of 238 ships. The
number of men needed to man these ships was over 27,000. But
Dave Cooke points out that by 1066
Hardrada could have mustered 500 vessels. But given the need to defend the home
base and Hardrada previous behaviour an elite force of 7,000 Norwegians,
reinforced to 10,000 by the Orkney contingent and Tostig's supporters.
- "King Harald remained all winter at Nidaros (A.D. 1062) and had a
vessel built out upon the strand, and it was a buss. The ship was built of
the same size as the Long Serpent, and every part of her was finished with
the greatest care. On the stem was a dragon-head, and on the stern a
dragon-tail, and the sides of the bows of the ship were gilt. The vessel
was of thirty-five rowers benches, and was large for that size, and was
remarkably handsome; for the king had everything belonging to the ship's
equipment of the best, both sails and rigging, anchors and cables"
- The Northern Earls commanded 'an immense army' according to Snorri
- "1066 - King Harald sailed with his ships he had about him to the
south to meet his people, and a great fleet was collected; so that.
according to the people's reckoning, King Harald had nearly 200 ships
beside provision-ships and small craft." (Saga) (8,800 warriors
plus logistics and support).
- According to Geoffrey Gaimar the Northern army was mustered from seven
shires. York had 1,500 households at the time of the battle.
- Based on the face off between the Mercian and Northumbrian Earls and the Godwinson's a
few years before, in which the former forced the latter to back down,
concludes that the northern army was substantial. The decision of Harold to
rush north to oppose the Viking force might also indicate that the invading
army was huge.
- The Anglo Saxon Chroniclers agree on the numbers 'And he went to Scotland with
twelve vessels; and Harald, the King of Norway, met him with three hundred
- According to John Speed in 1610 in
a commentary on his map he noted a 'fleete of two hundred saile'
An estimate of 10,000 warriors and 2000 supporting personnel is sensible.
This makes it bigger than the Norman forces at Hastings.
As Riccall required a guard force, perhaps two thirds of the warriors were
available for the battle at Fulford.